In September, the 2 year horse ride fundraiser starts in Ontario, runs along the west side of the Appalachians, then across Arkansas and Texas, south thru Mexico, rising to finish in the Guatemalan Highlands.
In 2014 while working for a competitive sled dog kennel in Alberta, I decided to go on this trip as an interesting way to get back to my former winter home of Guatemala. At first I was planning to take my trusty Toyota Tacoma and blog the trip along the way. But after remembering my robbery in Guatemala in 2004, I thought, why bring a tricked out truck, and secondly, why support and glamorize gas guzzling, pollution causing transport?
As an alternative, I thought about buying a mule as I remembered all the mules I had seen during my time in Central America. But in July 2014, a friend of my employers offered me a Morab mare at a decent price.
Enter Jingles, my first horse. Jingles is the road captain, but Roxy, my Morgan mare, is the boss. I ride J primarily while ponying, although Roxy is also ridden for intense sections. If Roxy is Yin, then Jingles is Yang. Roxy eats up the miles, Jingles floats over them. I have owned my mares for over 2 years now, riding them separately, together and in groups over a very wide range of road and trail conditions. Our bond makes for a tight unit.
I live off grid in a remote area east of Algonquin Park. Winters here are long, yet summers are buggy. This past winter, as I updated then published my gardening book, I began to really get the backend of the upcoming horse trip together.
Let’s just say that communicating with the outside world when you have no electricity, no phone, no internet and no truck is a little challenging…I walk or ride my horses down the dirt road and use the phone or internet at my buddy’s house, then come back home to write more on my battery powered laptop.
It has been a period of positive stress; as I get all my ducks in a row all the technical legalities of undertaking the trip are being addressed well before I take off in September. To give you an idea of some of the many things that need to be considered before leaving on a long ride, I suggest a look at the foremost compilation of equestrian travel available:
The Long Riders Guild. I own several of their published books and will purchase a couple more in the month to come. Armed with the most pertinent and important knowledge, one gets an idea of what is to come, once one leaves the comfort of home…
Even though it’s the middle of April, we still have snow in Rockingham! And so I live my life here, riding on the roads, or the trails, and getting the word out about our pretty long ride and the fundraiser we have started for Maya Pedal. In the next few months I will be giving talks on Edible Gardening, while getting my own garden ready for the season. Starting in June on Saturdays I will be riding to the Combermere Farmers Market to sell copies of my Edible Gardening Guidebook and to promote the trip.
Hope to see you there!